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South Korea’s POSCO and SK Energy to Develop Coal to Synthetic Natural Gas

South Korea-based POSCO, a global steel producer, and SK Energy Co., Ltd., an energy and petrochemical producer, have signed a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean government to develop coal conversion technologies, including synthetic natural gas (SNG) produced through a coal-to-gas conversion process utilizing low-quality coal.

Domestic production of synthetic natural gas is expected to substantially reduce Korea’s dependence on imported liquefied natural gas.

POSCO is planning to invest approximately 7.8 billion won (US$6.3 million) for research and development of coal conversion technologies, with SK Energy and the Korean government planning to contribute additional funding in the amounts of 17.2 billion won and 25 billion won (US$14 million and US$20 million), respectively.

POSCO plans to build a coal-to-SNG plant by 2013 with an annual production capacity of 500,000 tons.



Anything new here. Wasn't that done, on a very large scale, almost 100 years ago? Cities were supplied with NG derived from coal in the early 1900's.


"100 years ago?"

It was called 'town gas' and it was a mixture of the calorific gases: hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane and volatile hydrocarbons, with small amounts of noncalorific gases - carbon dioxide and nitrogen - as impurities.


If you are going to make CH4 methane out of coal, you are going to end up with one heck of a lot of carbon left over. You could combine it with H2 from solar electrolysis and make more methane, sequester the carbon or find some use for it, but you have to do something with it.

Henry Gibson

The US has a coal to methane (natural gas) factory in operation in North Dakota. They produce ammonia and other by products as well. Interestingly enough they sell much of their CO2 to Canadian oil fields nearly 300 miles away.

There is no reason to require doing anything with the CO2. CO2 is not evil. Even plants, bacteria and animals produce CO2. Interestingly enough composting is a very large producer of waste CO2 as well as wasting the energy. Anaerobic digestion is used in Europe to save energy and lower CO2 release. Car owners are not required to even use the smallest highest efficiency engines for the transportation they do.

In spite of the known relationship of higher CO2 emissions per mile at high speeds, more efficient road speeds are not not required or even announced.

People are allowing themselves to believe that power companies and coal companies are responsible for the CO2 they release rather than the consumers of the power. Many power companies can implement ZERO carbon power right now for people who wish to pay a higher price for it.

They can also implement wind power for those who want unsteady power. The already turning gigawatt turbines are required to fraudulently hide the unreliability of wind power whose representatives claim falsly that no storage is needed. Norsk Hydro and braun coal generators of Germany and Denmark hide the unreliability of the many windturbines in Denmark and Germany.

People are allowed to take as many plane flights as they wish and live as far away from where they work as they want. They are also allowed to use the largest houses they want with the largest heating bills and air-conditioning bills.

Large and small buildings are not required to use cogeneration for heating and electrical generation to reduce CO2 use.

Korea uses considerable nuclear power instead of coal and are certainly entitled to use as much coal for methane production as they would have for electrical production. Direct current transmission of electricity all the way to the home with buried cables is economically possible and efficient in a mass market with millions of units. Old computer power supplies can tap into 300 volt DC steel cables to provide 12 volts at about 100 watts for the poorest communities. Heat pumps like ECOcute can provide hot water for heat so no gas needs to be made or burned at all. Where a flame is desired, small amounts of hydrogen can be made.

The US should also devote its coal to liquid and gaseous fuel production and install fairly quick to build with local industry CANDU power plants.

Nuclear heat may be the cheapest heat except conservation, but cogeneration is the quicker than nuclear to install.

People who require million years of proven safe storage for radioactive materials and drive cars as safe as they possibly can have no concept of how low a danger nuclear power presents compared to the safest driving. Most of them do not know that food, people, plants and animals have always been radioactive. ..HG..


I would say that the coal fields of Montana could sell the CO2 to oil fields that are in decline, with the proper investments in pipelines.

I am not saying CO2 is evil, you said that, but if you do not do something with it and just vent it to the atmosphere there will be lots of angry people around the world. I would just as soon avoid all of that if possible.

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